Why You Should Aerate Your Lawn

Lawn aeration


Don't brush off lawn aeration. Trust us.

Everyone talks about wanting a golf course quality lawn or even their very own Fenway Park. What's the secret to a perfect lawn? We went right to the source of the area's best lawn growers and asked for their advice. The overwhelming answer was simple - Plug Core Aeration.

With all the effort spent on mowing, fertilization, irrigation and weeding, it's easy to forget the early fall core aeration service. We promise that the local golf course superintendents and sports field managers don't forget aeration. In fact, they aerate multiple times per season!

Why does my lawn need aeration? What does aeration do?

As your lawn goes through seasons it develops some issues that reduce its ability to thrive. Over time, the soil compacts under the tires of the lawn mower, snow pack, vehicle and foot traffic. This compaction causes serious issues. The grass roots can't spread, water and air don't penetrate which makes the grass' ability to absorb nutrients very difficult. If you don't fix the compaction issue the grass will eventually suffocate and begin to struggle and die.

We don't typically look at a lawn as thousands of small grass plants but that's exactly what they are! A large grass plant is a happy grass plant. To grow a large plant, you need to aerate the soil to allow its roots to penetrate, grow and prosper.

Over time, soil and the underlying thatch of your lawn can become compacted, which can seriously affect your lawn's ability to thrive.

Core aeration service is designed to perforate the soil with thousands of small holes that allows water, air and nutrients to penetrate deep into the root layer. These holes produce space that encourage the roots to penetrate deeper into the soil, spread out and absorb water and nutrients. The result - a stronger, healthier more drought tolerant lawn that you've always wanted.

When is the best time of year to aerate my lawn?

We've found that early fall is the best time to core aerate. There are a few reasons but mostly because the weather is on our side. The cool nights means your lawn will no longer be stressed by mid-summer heat. Cool weather also marks the end of crab grass season as they start to turn purple and die. Not to mention most other common weeds are prolifically germinating. Aeration can be stressful to a lawn. The fall is the best time to aerate because the lawn will begin to thrive and thicken. A thick lawn in the fall means a thick lawn in the spring that is more resistant to weeds, disease and issues.

How often should I aerate my lawn?

Deciding how often to aerate is no easy task. It really depends on the structure of your soil. What do we mean by 'structure'? It's the proportion of the different elements that make up loam (i.e. dirt). Loam is made up of Sand, Silt and Clay. The ratios of these products will determine the structure of the soil. Different soils need aeration more than others. A clay based soil will need to be done more than a sandy soil. Check out this cool soil triangle if you don't believe us.

Soil triangle infographic


We know it can get complicated, so what's the rule of thumb for how often you should aerate your lawn?

We recommend you aerate your lawn AT LEAST once a year.

Why aerate at least annually? Because core aeration is always beneficial when done properly. There are some caveats to this such as avoiding periods of lawn stress, drought, flooding, disease, and weed infestation.

Confused? Don't be. The smartest choice is to leave your aeration to the professionals. At North Point Outdoors, we know all there is to know about aeration. We'll help you make an informed decision that will create the best results for your property and your budget.

What about my irrigation system, won't it get punctured?

Great point! We are after all talking about putting thousands of holes in your lawn. Needless to say this seems like a threat to your irrigation system. But fear not - if installed correctly your irrigation system piping should be 2-3" deeper than our core aerators can reach. When it comes to the sprinkler heads we will mark them with flags if needed and avoid them. If any of your sprinkler heads or irrigation pipe is damaged we can easily repair and replace them for you at no cost. This is another benefit of choosing a professional like North Point Outdoors to handle your lawn aeration for you.

Can I do lawn aeration myself?

Honestly, core aeration is a very difficult service to perform on your own. Besides having to rent a machine you must know how to safely use it or you could very easily damage the lawn or hurt yourself. A core aeration machine weighs a few hundred pounds and has hundreds of sharp core spikes. This is not a fun machine to wrestle around the lawn on a Saturday morning. There is a reason you don't see a 'do-it-yourself' core aeration demonstration on HGTV.

Rental costs will run you around $100 for the day. Not to mention having to get it into the pickup truck bed for the ride home. After spending the day twisting, pulling, pushing and grappling the machine around the lawn, hopefully avoiding damaging your sprinkler system, the lawn, or your fingers and toes in the process, at best you've completed the job without knowing for sure if you've done it exactly right. This is a job for the professionals.

The advantage of using a lawn care professional like North Point Outdoors

We take core aeration seriously. We've invested in the best equipment and trained our lawn care technicians to provide a professional, dependable, and high-quality aeration service. We hope that you started this article thinking you might try aeration yourself, but have learned enough now to realize that this is a service better left to the professionals. We pay attention to the details so you don't have to.

In addition to professional equipment and training, we also have a few tricks up our sleeves to enhance the core aeration service, including high quality over-seeding and topdressing.


With our over-seeding, we use a carefully engineered blend of three perennial fine fescues and rye grass to increase diversity of the turf grass and fill in any thin areas. When performed after core aeration, some seed will fall deep into the core holes or interact with the disintegrated plugs to germinate and grow.


If you have a sandy soil that seems to be lacking organic matter and nutrients we offer a topdressing compost application using our specialized pneumatic blower trucks. We use these trucks to apply a thin layer (.5" – 1") of highly organic, PH balanced soil over the entire lawn. You wouldn't believe the results!

How much does core aeration cost?

We like cold hard numbers with it comes to estimating. We've found the best way to be fair and consistent is to base your aeration price from the square footage of lawn to be serviced. The average core aeration service costs for a residential home is $250-$500. If you add overseeding, it typically costs an additional $100-$225.

This believe that annual core aeration service is the next best investment for your lawn aside from an irrigation system. It's a critical service if you want a beautiful, healthy lawn for years to come.

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